Montana State University

MSU student conductor to compete in March competition

February 8, 2017 -- MSU News Service

Andrew Major, a Montana State University student majoring in cell biology and music was recently accepted into the American Choral Directors Association National Conducting Awards competition in March. MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Montana State University School of Music student Andrew Major will participate in a masterclass at the American Choral Directors Association national conference, to be held March 8-11 in Minneapolis.

Major, a Belgrade native, is a senior majoring in music and cell biology and neuroscience. He is one of only eight students selected from a field of 75 semi-finalists.

The ACDA student conducting competition began in 1993 to recognize excellence in student conducting, according to the competition’s stated objectives. The organization also wished to encourage musical score preparation and the advancement of conducting and rehearsal skills, as well as to promote student activity at national conferences.

The competition is divided into two sections, one for graduate students and one for undergraduates. Major will compete in the undergraduate competition.

“MSU has had two previous students compete at the ACDA regional level,” said Kirk Aamot, professor of choral studies in the MSU School of Music. “But, this is the first time that one of our students has been accepted to compete at the national level. I am excited for Andrew. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow, gain confidence as a conductor.”

“I am honored to have been selected to participate in the masterclass and to represent Montana's choral tradition,” Major said. “I am grateful to Dr. Aamot for not only teaching me, but for encouraging me to apply. And, I can’t forget my classmates who were willing to sing for my entry video. This is such an incredible opportunity, and I am excited to learn from the best.”

“Andrew is a very talented musician who has put a lot of time and effort into developing his skills, capitalizing on the excellent instruction available from our faculty,” said Keith Kothman, director of the MSU School of Music. “We are very proud of his, and all our students’, accomplishments. And, as a school, it really shows how much talent we have -- how much success our student performers and conductors are having at these high-profile national and regional events.”

The ACDA, founded in 1959, is a nonprofit music education organization dedicated to inspiring excellence in choral music education, performance, composition and advocacy.

Contact: Kirk Aamot, School of Music, (406) 994-5755 or